On Tuesday night Tribal Seeds and Fortunate Youth kicked off their nationwide tour at Santa Barbara’s very own SOhO. The first night of a three-month tour, the show was lively and refreshingly different from most Santa Barbara reggae offerings.
Listening to reggae in Santa Barbara, especially in venues that cater to the college crowd, can be monotonous; so much of it is influenced by or directly imitates the melodic reggae-pop style popularized by Sublime, and locally, I.V.-rooted Rebelution. Indeed, much of the reason band like Fortunate Youth and Tribal Seeds are now going on nationwide tours and playing at larger venues is because of the recent increase in popularity of the genre. However, this growing crop of reggae-rock artists (see Pepper, Slightly Stoopid, etc.) have fallen into a cookie-cutter mold, eschewing musical creativity for tired formula.
Yet Fortunate Youth rejects this mold, instead playing a more dub-meets-post-punk influenced brand of reggae. Think Groundation mixed with Sublime, rather than SOJA. Their music is born out of the surf and skate culture of the South Bay, a collection of beach towns just west Los Angeles. And their set on Tuesday mirrored this ethos, combining politically minded lyrics with good vibes. Lead vocalist Dan Kelly got the crowd moving early and the band never let up, culminating in a bouncing rendition of their anthem “Ride.”
SOhO was jam-packed from the start of the night, but when Tribal Seeds took the stage after a short intermission, the place was bursting at its seams. When the band launched into their hit “Beautiful Mysterious” the close quarters of SOhO were vibrating with the combination of bass, screaming voices, and dancing feet.
Backstage, Fortunate Youth keyboard player and bassist Corey Draskovich yelled above the noise enthusiastically. “This is what it’s all about. It’s all about good music. Listen to that; were excited to be on tour with a band that can play like that.”
The Tribal-Youth tour finishes out in Santa Ana, CA on Saturday, February 26. For those of you who missed Tuesday’s show, fret not. Draskovich promises a return to Santa Barbara sometime soon.